Are you able to talk to your boss about your depression?

How many Employers or those in leadership roles recognize that depression and anxiety disorder are highly prevalent?  Do most employers think of depression and/or anxiety as a medical issue?  Have you been stigmatized on the job because you do suffer from depression or anxiety?  If you’re  afraid of the stigma, do you suffer in silence- making up excuses for days missed on the job?

I won’t be in today because I have the stomach flu


According to the NIMH in 2013, an estimated 15.7 million adults aged 18 or older in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. This represented 6.7 percent of all U.S. adults. If you view the graph on the NIMH’s site, you will see that depression is on the rise, not decline.

Hi, I won’t be in to work today, because I’m suffering from depression. I need to leave work early, because my anxiety disorder is making it impossible for me to function.

I’m curious just how many employers have actually received a call from one of their employees stating they can’t work because they are ill from depression?  If you did receive that call, how did you react?  Has anyone felt they were able to express their need to leave work because their anxiety disease and/or depression is causing them to feel ill enough not to function? If I were a gambler, I would stake a bet that the stats are very low when it comes to employee-employer relations, and sharing the truth about these illnesses. I would love for others to prove me wrong- yes, seriously!

I was talking to someone today about this issue, which prompted me to write this post, and one thing we deduced- the brain is an organ just like any organ in the body. Without your brain, many of your vital organs would cease to function. So, why is there is still such a stigma attached to mental health issues? I would love to read one day that the term ‘mental health’ has been replaced with a more appropriate term like- MEDICAL HEALTH.  Until that day arrives, if it ever does people will continue to be stigmatized, misunderstood, and possibly retreat from ‘treatment’ that is vital to their physical health. If your mental health goes untreated, it will affect your physical health.

Depression Costs U.S. Workplaces $23 Billion in Absenteeism

These findings are based on Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data collected between Jan. 2 2011 and Dec. 30, 2012. Gallup surveyed 237,615 full-time employees (those who work at least 30 hours per week) and 66,010 part-time employees during this time period.

For leaders of organizations, proven strategies for improving the mental health of employees generally involve the allocation of resources

According to the gallop poll early identification and treatment, employee assistance programs, efforts to culturally de-stigmatize depression and its treatment in the workplace, and management education for addressing depression and its causes are proven strategies for improving mental health within an organization.  If more employers utilize these strategies,  they may find employees are missing less time on the job.

How important is destigmatizing mental health issues to your Organization?

The 20 million dollar question, at what point do employers recognize that getting treatment for mental health is just as vital as getting treatment for kidney disease as one of many examples? Wouldn’t validation from your employer make you feel as though it’s OK to seek out treatment just as quickly as one would with a bonafide medical illness?  Wouldn’t this drive down medical costs, and time lost at work if people were embraced to seek treatment early on?

We all get depressed from time to time, and everyone experiences anxiety, you just need to learn how to deal with it.

I’m going to bet (well I’m fairly certain) most people would not be told they need to ‘learn to deal with it,” if they had cancer, heart disease, a lung disease, shingles, diabetes and on the list goes. I’m fairly certain the few physical diseases mentioned would be viewed by an employer as a legitimate illness. Mental health ILLNESSES, on the other hand, are viewed by many as a weakness and the person  should ‘just suck it up’, and nothing more.  I’m sure there are some companies/employers who are educated enough to know the difference.


Learn more about mental health issues, and how it affects those who suffer in silence because many do! Many suffer because they don’t want a label attached to them. They don’t want to be viewed as the ‘weak link.’ The point is- they shouldn’t have to feel as though they are the weak link.  It’s time to stop the stigma attached to mental health issues that affect so many in our society today.

“Shit people say to people with Mental Illness”

I’d like to leave you with a video that’s not only enlightening but a parody of things people say to others who are suffering. The gal who put this video together also suffered from depression and anxiety. She’s young, highly educated, and wants to stop the stigma. I hope others can take a moment to view her video.  After you view this you’ll either be extremely amused or have a deeper understanding for those who suffer in silence.

If you are suffering in silence

I strongly recommend following Rachels blogs on WordPress, she’s extremely intelligent and doesn’t mince words.  If you are an employer overlooking the fact the fact that in 2015 one out of 4 people suffer from depression, I also recommend reading some of her blogs.

My goal- to enlighten & empower. I hope in some way I’ve been able to do one or the other.  My hope is that one day employees feel as free to share that they are dealing with a sucky brain illness, and their employer understands.  Why should anyone feel ostracized for being ill, think about it?!

If you use twitter and hope to lessen the stigma attached to mental illnesses, please use the hashtag #EndTheStigma or #WeHaveApples.

If you work with someone that is dealing with a ‘brain illness,’ please try to empathize, and understand they are not in control of their illness. Treat them with kindness as you would with someone that has diabetes. Encourage your co-worker to seek medical help.

Hospitalization: Do You Feel Your In Good Hands With A Hospitalist?


The use of Hospitalists is not a new topic, however it is a hot, and ongoing topic. You will find Hospitalists working in every hospital through out the US.  There seems to be mixed feelings among people who have been an inpatient at a hospital over the last 15 years.

Hospitalists  interface with patients longer.

Hospitalists interface with patients longer. That makes them better at diagnosing conditions, interpreting tests and understanding the care pathway for patients,” David says. “They are also very involved in safety and patient quality improvement.

The statement above may be true, but there are many circumstances where patient care has declined, and the patient is more at risk because the Hospitalist knows nothing about the patient prior to admission to a hospital.

Physician continuity during hospitalization may be associated with important outcomes other than length of stay. Transfers of patient care responsibility from one hospital physician to another may result in loss of important clinical information, potentially resulting in unnecessary tests and/or treatments. Additionally, transfers of patient care challenge physicians’ ability to establish rapport with their patients, potentially affecting patient satisfaction.

Transfers of patient care responsibility from one hospital physician to another may result in loss of important clinical information, potentially resulting in unnecessary tests and/or treatments.

Some will argue that “Hospitalists improve length of stay because they build relationships with individuals in the organization. And when they build relationships, they get consultations faster, they get people tested faster and they are generally on top of things.”  There are people who will agree that Hospitalists improve the length of stay, however this is where I diverge with some personal insight.

  • Hospitalists do not know the patient prior to admission
  • If the patient has no family members to advocate on behalf of the patient, a lot of pertinent medical information can be left out.
  • It’s not common for them to speak with the patient’s family physician who can also fill in some very important gaps when it comes to a full treatment plan.
  • Patients, in many cases are discharged too early for cost savings purposes. Which means the chances of re-admission are higher.
  • A patient will generally have more than one Hospitalist, and the danger of this is the idea that in many hospitals they do not meet together on behalf of the patient. Each Hospitalist will look at the patient’s chart and read the last Hospitalist’s notes.
  • I want to emphasize, that in larger hospitals IE: Teaching Hospitals they do have team meetings, however it depends on what you- the patient happen to be admitted for with regards to ‘team meetings.’
  • It’s been my personal experience that one Hospitalist may tend to over ride the treatment plan of the admitting Hospitalist.  This can be detrimental to recovery if the Hospitalist changes and/or adds medications.  Unlike the patient’s Primary Care Physician who knows the patients entire history, the Hospitalist is focused on the admitting diagnosis.
  • Patients admitted with underlying conditions that are not documented are in danger of not receiving the proper medications, or being given medications that are contraindicated. This can be a fatal mistake.

According to an article in the New York Times, “Hospitalists don’t appear terribly popular with patients and families, however. When the founding New Old Age blogger Jane Gross wrote about these specialists last year, she touched off a wave of complaints from readers. Americans don’t cotton to programs and people who step between them and their doctors. “A good primary care physician is a permanent part of your life,” Mike C. from Monroe, N.J., wrote. “To hospitalists, if you drop dead on the way home, they’ve still done their job.”

Hospitalists don’t appear terribly popular with patients and families

One last observation- When patients are discharged too early, they may lack the proper care at home which leads to a fast re-admission, Emergency Room visit, or worst case scenerio: death.  Many patients are discharged to Nursing Home Facilities to recover instead of finishing their recovery in the hospital. It’s more cost effective to discharge a patient to a Nursing Home verses keeping them in the hospital.

If you have a loved one that is admitted to a hospital, it’s wise to bring their medication list, keep a list of underlying conditions that you can share with the admitting nurse and Physician.  Due to the fast pace of our Medical care shifting to cost savings as a priority trumping patient care it’s important that we, the consumers stay educated- it can be the difference between life and death.

Anxiety And Depression Are Weaknesses, So Learn To Deal With It!

Depression sign

I used to know a girl who grew up with many fears, and she thought she would out grow those fears.  When ever she felt nervous she doubled over with stomach pains as a child.  This young child was afraid of the water, afraid to put a plug in an electrical outlet, afraid to ask questions in school, afraid of angering those she loved, afraid of camping, because ‘there might be bears,’ and afraid of death and dying.  Until she grew a bit older, she thought it was normal to have ongoing fears, and assumed all girls her age feared many of the things she did. This little girl had to be weak!


When the little girl became a teenager she became less interested in her education and much more interested in boys, along with hanging out with the ‘in’ crowd.  She felt if she hung with the in crowd- she would be popular and that would boost her moral.  Unfortunately, what she was searching for didn’t change how she felt on the inside; it just shifted for quite a while. She didn’t pay as much attention to her internal feelings. She also lost her father when she was eleven years old, and hardly thought about him after a year or so of his passing.  This young teenager was passive, yet angered easily, and if she was hurting deeply inside she would punch her thighs or take her fingernails and scratch herself until she bled.  The young teenage girl would cry behind closed doors, but tried to wear a smile when she was in front of others.  She was weak! 


When she became an adult new symptoms emerged; symptoms IE: Vertigo, racing heart,  along with a sense of hopelessness that seemed to come and go on a fairly regular basis when she was a young adult.  When she told others about her vertigo in particular they reacted as though she was a hypochondriac.  She didn’t want to lose her friends, because she was beginning to realize she was different and not as strong as they were, so she tried hard to keep her symptoms to herself.  She also attributed her symptoms to the stresses of raising two young children, working full time and taking care of her home.  She was weak!


She is now a middle aged adult, and found out in her late twenties she had anxiety, but no one told her it would hang on for a lifetime if she didn’t get help. After all, she was diagnosed in the 80’s, and and medicine was the answer! The medicine seemed to work for quite a few years, because her anxiety lessened, and she became less fearful of life in general.  Sadly, counseling wasn’t overly popular in the 80’s, and people didn’t talk about anxiety and other ‘mental health’ issues with others due to a major stigma attached to the term.  Again, she was weak! 

  • She wakes up every morning feeling as though she’s shaking from the inside out.
  • Her legs feel like jelly much of the day.
  • She replays her worries in her head all day long.
  • It feels like someone keeps tightening a noose around her neck through out each day.
  • Her heart beats fast most of the day.
  • She stays up late and could sleep all day if she could get away with it.
  • Her bed is her friend.
  • She cries easily, and gets distracted just as easily.
  • Her head feels like it’s carrying bricks instead of her brain.
  • Her muscles are tense all day long and cause pain.
  • She feels as though she’s in an abyss she can’t climb out of.
  • She beats herself up mentally, because of course “She’s weak!”
  • She gets dizzy easily which interferes with daily functioning.
  • She doesn’t share *most* of what she experiences, because she doesn’t want to appear weak! 
  • She feels hopeless.
  • She’s been on a waiting list for counseling for almost eight months.
  • She feels so alone, even though she is surrounded by so many loving people.

One thing that helps her when she’s feeling despair, anger or even extreme sadness is to crank up the jams.  One song she loves and actually brings her out of the funk she’s in (at least temporarily) – This summer gonna hurt like a Mother#ucke@

This middle aged woman would like to introduce you to Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression.  She was told that if you have Generalized Anxiety for a period of time lasting more than six months it generally leads to depression. Anxiety disorder and depression are still so misunderstood if one has not experienced it first hand. There is still a stigma attached to GAD and depression, and that’s why people try desperately to hide their symptoms or make up excuses.

She was genetically predisposed to the illness, and 40 years later is finding that there are a lot of medications doctors want to prescribe, however counseling isn’t easy to get into. The brain is an organ just like any other organ in the body, and it’s signals are misfiring along with sending out the wrong chemical messengers which lead to all the symptoms listed above. It’s disgraceful that the medical community puts patients on the back burner when it comes to mental health; mental health should be taken just as seriously as a person’s physical health. Sadly, if someone goes without proper treatment for any length of time- the condition worsens.

If generalized anxiety and/or depression go on for a long period of time, it does begin to take a toll on a person’s physical health.  The symptoms a person experiences on a daily basis if untreated or not treated properly affect not just the brain, but the body as a whole.

The gal, who is now middle aged has been on a medication for years. She has been in counseling before, but it wasn’t the proper type of counseling. Talk Therapy does not help.  They have also found people diagnosed with GAD tend to have bad experiences with most antidepressants, so GAD is hard to treat with medication alone.

She is patiently (or not so patiently anymore) waiting to get into proper counseling. She was told EMDR along with CBT works well with people like herself.

She did however learn a few things over the years; she can’t control the anxiety and depression, because it is an illness.  She’s aware that with proper counseling there is hope. She’s also aware that she is not weak, she’s been ill and trying hard to function as normal for way too long. She’s learned that she is fairly strong, considering she’s been able to function even when she feels as though she can’t go on.

She is not weak!